Veterans groups weigh options

The town and its two veterans organizations have agreed to maintain the status quo on the groups’ lease arrangement with the town for another two years. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10059 and the American Legion Post 141 have leased a lot and building at 1 Veterans Way from the town, but the building is now vacant and likely to remain that way due to structural problems. The VFW has been meeting at the library and the American Legion at the Helen Plumb Building for the past two years.

Attorney Tom Lee, a member of both organizations, told the Town Council at its August meeting that the building is currently “mothballed” and asked for an additional two years for the groups to assess their options. The building suffers from structural problems due to being built on a slab, which has cracked and heaved, making the building impossible to rent out. The building will most likely be demolished, but the additional two years will give the veterans time to assess their options, Lee said.

According to Lee, an inspection of the building in October of 2017 revealed the severity of the problems.

“We expect it to be found irreparable,” he said. Should the building prove too difficult or costly to repair, Lee said the veterans could build a new home on the Veterans Way site or look for another location in town.

Town Attorney Daniel Schopick said, per the terms of the lease, the town is maintaining insurance on the building, and that there were funds available for demolition. But should the building be knocked down, rebuilding on the site could be problematic due to the building’s location near Kaatz Pond. The building is on a septic system and is also subject to wetlands restrictions. There are a number of health regulations restricting septic systems so close to a pond and rebuilding may not be practical, he said. In any case, the two-year extension would give the veterans time to look for another property that fit their needs, he said.